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Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages (Continued)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan] When I introduced excise increases I did so on tobacco and alcohol but not on hydrocarbons and it was still described as an excise tax. One does not have to do everything that is subject to a particular tax before it carries the title. Because all property is not included, the argument from the early speakers tonight was that it should not be called a property tax. This is a ridiculous proposition because it is property that is being taxed and it is quite valid to call it a property tax. Taxes which are very closely analogous to this tax throughout the European Union and the world are all described as property tax. The third word is "local". Is it local or not?

Deputy Noel Grealish: Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish Some of it.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath It is like Shaws - almost nationwide.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan It is a tax which will be used by local authorities.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath We have heard that before.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan In the first year 65% of it will be transferred to local authorities, because obviously administrative measures must be put in place, and this percentage will increase. Over the space of a couple of years the total amount collected through this tax will be used by local authorities to fund the services they provide. When the estimate is being prepared by the new local authorities at the end of 2014 for the 2015 financial year, the newly elected local authorities will have the discretion of plus or minus 15% on the rate of the tax. It is up to subsequent Administrations to decide whether to transfer further discretion to local authorities or whether it will remain at plus or minus 15%. It is an evolving situation. This is a major structural change in the tax system of the country and Opposition Deputies know as well as I do it has been advocated for years. What is the biggest problem in this country at present? Unemployment. What does one get if one taxes work? One gets fewer jobs. I am not putting taxes-----

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Where is the money coming from?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am not putting taxes on work.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath But you have indirectly.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath PRSI.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty PRSI is work.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The money is coming from everybody who is the owner of the property-----

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae People who cannot afford to pay.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan ----but the problem previously was people such as Deputy Higgins refused to pay, but this time he will pay because it will be taken from him if he does not.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins We will see about that.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan This is the difference.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins It is for the bondholders not local services.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan We will have a situation where everybody will pay on this occasion and there will not be guys like Deputy Higgins. He is always giving out about the bondholders. He is another bondholder in a small way. He will not pay his way. He will not pay €100. He will avail of local services but he will not pay €100.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins This is a transfer by the Minister from the Irish people to the bankers of Europe.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan What kind of example is that to the public of Ireland?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Hear, hear.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan It is an absolutely ridiculous position.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Does the Minister think everybody has a resident leprechaun with a crock of gold?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Not all of the leprechauns are outside.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I do not have the time to go into it tonight but everybody knows that property is a fixed asset. If one taxes property it is more dependable. It is not a transaction tax. It is good for the tax base and people who have assets should be taxed. This is a tax on assets and they are being taxed on this.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett It is not a tax on assets.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty They are liabilities for some.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath Why did the Minister not tell people he was going to do this?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan It is a fair tax and all those people who do not contribute on this occasion will contribute to a smaller amount. Everybody talks about fairness.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett It is not a tax on assets.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I will tell you what my concept of fairness is. A different concept of fairness is being propagated by certain sections of the House which is that there is a small discrete group of extraordinarily wealthy people, and if one only took a lot of tax from them no one else would have to pay anything. This is the thesis. Fair enough, the wealthy should pay. This is why we are insisting on taking in a minimum 30% tax regardless of what tax break people have. This is fair, for those who live on my road in my housing estate fairness means everybody makes a contribution. Those people who get up in the morning, who are both working and who take their kids to the crèche or drop them at school and pass houses where people do not get up in the morning think everybody should share and should pay.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Will the Minister tax the crèche too? He taxed the hearse so he will probably tax the crèche.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan We are all in the same profession, and Deputy Mattie McGrath knows what is regarded as extremely unfair in housing estates is where the local authority comes in and buys a house and puts in a person in need of social housing who pays rent there as a tenant while everybody along the road is paying mortgages. When it comes to property tax I believe everybody on the road should pay a small amount in accordance with his or her capacity to pay. This is fairness.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath It is not linked to capacity to pay.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty It is not in the Bill.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen Will the Minister table an amendment?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Do Deputies want a row or do they want to listen to the reply? The Deputies are only wasting time.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputies are propagating an argument that everybody should not pay. Go to a big corporation estate in any city. Are the Deputies telling me that people who have been on tenant purchase and have reached 85% or 90% are the only people who should pay because they are the owners and those paying rent and who are not tenant purchasers should not pay anything?

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Renters do not pay.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Everybody should pay. At the end of the day everybody should make a small contribution. This is fairness.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Renters do not pay.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Settle down. Deputy Donnelly can speak when he has the floor.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Deputies Higgins and Boyd Barrett in different ways tried to rally people to some revolutionary cause. I heard Deputy Boyd Barrett last week getting very impassioned. He was calling people to the barricades. He was throwing the little streets upon the great.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Along with Deputy Mitchell.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The only problem with this call to revolution is I do not think they will get a big crowd of revolutionaries rallying behind the banner of opposing property taxes. This was never a great slogan for the left. The Deputies' ideological position seems to owe far more to Groucho Marx than Karl Marx because they are taking up ridiculous ideological positions. If Lenin heard what his successors in revolution now advocate he would have got back on the train at Finland Station and would never have gone to the Winter Palace.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath What happened when Michael Collins came back?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputies have put themselves in an absolutely ridiculous position.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins When did Lenin advocate attacks on people's family homes and on the peasant homes?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am all for raising debate. What is wrong with many people here tonight is they are disappointed the Government's programme is working.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Who is Groucho Marx now?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan They are building political careers on failure and the misery of the people and hoping the difficulties will continue. They got a shock today because as well as the internationally trading economy going well, the domestic economy has lifted and in the third quarter of this year there was growth in the domestic economy. GDP is growing again and it will grow stronger this year than estimated in the budget. Next year's figures, on the basis of today's figures, will be stronger than what was built into the budget. This is working despite all their theory and arguments that it will never work. We are getting the country out of the misery it was in when we took it over.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty What is the country? The country is families and the people.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan We are developing a strong society once more-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath What?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan -----and we are keeping people at work.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Work?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan More than 1.8 million people are still at work and I refuse to increase income tax on them because if one taxes work one will get less of it.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Minister did.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty PRSI.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Minister just called it something else.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The commitments we made in the programme for Government-----

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath Have been reneged upon.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan -----were not to increase rates, reduce credits or increase the bands and a separate commitment was made not to increase the marginal rate of tax.

Deputy Noel Grealish: Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish The Minister increased VAT.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan We did not do so in the previous budget and we did not do so in this one. It is working because we are not taxing work and more people are going back to work.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Minister is being deluded by the officials beside him.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have not heard one coherent argument tonight with one exception; Deputy Donnelly is always right. I heard no idea tonight worth anything to me as Minister for Finance.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Of course. The Minister is just doing what the bondholders want.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I heard nothing I could pick up and implement from anybody tonight-----

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Minister does not want to hear it.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan -----only the same old cant and trying to build a career on the misery of the people and failure. Why do the Deputies not come in and propose something constructive?

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins What about the third child?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Richie Ruin is back.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan There was a big argument about the audacity of the Minister for Finance to ask the Revenue Commissioners to collect taxes.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Yes.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan This was dreadful. What do the Deputies think the Revenue Commissioners are for?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Yes. They are adding to ordinary people's misery. They are paying tax already.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Why does Deputy McGrath think we have the Revenue Commissioners?

Deputy Noel Grealish: Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish What about the sheriff?


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